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Here’s the Diehl: Utilizing a General Agency

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Posted: November 1, 2016 by Staff Writer

I am going to draw a fine distinction between service and vendor relationships that empower you to engage and sell in our marketplace – and why it remains vital to utilize a General Agency like Word & Brown.

There are many things to consider.

To illustrate my point, I’m going to use quoting.  We could just as easily draw a comparison against any of the other myriad of software tools we use today to conduct business. Quoting is one of the most necessary things we do, and it is the foundation of the 31-year legacy on which Word & Brown has built its stellar reputation. We have strong, deep roots – but they run deeper than you might know.

Quote engines just quote. They don’t use their data to sell. When a quote engine loads data, it can use the most efficient means necessary. Usually, this is automated, and data is drawn by the system from SERFF Templates or CSV files. But what happens when there is a discrepancy in the data? What happens when there’s an issue with ZIP-eligibility guidelines? Are systems intelligent enough to discern the errors and remedy them?

Even the best code cannot overcome these problems. Not yet, at least! Perhaps one day we will be able to take 30+ years of experience and create artificial intelligence that will. Until then, as Vice President of Product Management, I rely on my Plan Maintenance Team to overcome these issues when they do occur. That team consists of five all-stars with a collective 115 years of experience analyzing data as well as performing carrier-requested updates.

When a quoting system passes on an error in its quote engine, and you use it to present an invalid plan option, combination, rate, or benefit to an employer client and its employees, what harm comes to the quote engine? Angry calls. A customer or two might leave. Overall, not much. These broker casualties often come to us looking for a better alternative to a monthly subscription that has lost them a client or prospect.

The good news? There is an option that works. The best part? It’s free. When a General Agency loads quote data into a proprietary quote engine, we are bound and committed to spending more time and more effort. Our Plan Maintenance Team carefully scrutinizes data, aggregates it, and ensures there aren’t deficits or disparities.

In a marketplace symbiosis, the General Agency protects both the carrier from inadvertent errors, as much as we protect brokers by ensuring our data and quote calculations are accurate – so accurate we’re the only GA quote engine that stands behind our product with a guarantee.

A quick moment of pause here. It is, after all, your name on the quote that you are presenting to your client; it’s your logo, your brand, your image, and your reputation. Wouldn’t you – and shouldn’t you – want your quote backed up by a guarantee that the paper you produced on someone else’ software is accurate?

To be clear, I’m not stating that quote engines are in any way bad. I’ve utilized them regularly and have succeeded by leveraging their agile frameworks and often attractive output displays. They serve a purpose, a meaningful one, in getting us the best possible presentation that is tailored to our personal style. If you like your quote engine, your subscription, and the output, keep them. But, I suggest, if your health is worth a second opinion, so is your client’s welfare, your credibility, and that prospect’s trust that you are slowly building.

For the sake of transparency, we’re not perfect. But we take great pains to deliver accuracy.  On the rare occasion that mistakes are made, we quickly make them right. This approach is what makes Word & Brown the type of organization that you want to partner with to help operate your agency and build your reputation.

Why do we go to such lengths? Good question. We go above and beyond because we use the same data you use to quote your clients, to sell policies, to underwrite policies, to relay sold case data to some of our carriers to set final rates and to claim our commissions. The accuracy of our quote engine’s rating algorithm is also in our best interest.

This degree of quality is the value of a partnership with an organization that serves you and your customer; one that operates alongside you in the field or the office and transacts policy sales, service, and renewals. We are more than in your corner. We’ll put on the gloves and do what is necessary for you to WIN.

That is precisely why Word & Brown has long been a supporter of broker associations, why we’ve advocated for brokers through a direct lobby, why we’ve rallied your support or opposition on bills, and, finally, why we’ve stood steadfast with you in carrier negotiations – operating as your union.

So, never dismiss the value of a General Agency and for goodness sake don’t fail to recognize the benefits of partnering with an exceptional General Agency like Word & Brown. Don’t even think about it. We offer the highest level of service, quality, support, quoting, and so much more.

Word & Brown is a powerful ally, funded by your sales, to support you and deliver to you reliable quality tools and the assistance you need to maximize your sales opportunities.

I always advise brokers, if we aren’t doing it today that doesn’t mean we won’t be doing it tomorrow. The next few months and 2017 will illustrate this; we’re coming up on a time of significant and unprecedented origination.

Innovation is what Word & Brown does. We’re a technical company and one of revolution and vision. As we have for 30 years, we are industry leaders, taking the marketplace into its future with clarity, vision, and our commitment to Service of Unequalled Excellence.

I cordially invite you to join us for the successful journey we’re about to undertake. It’s going to be a great ride!

#DiehlWithIt

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